Law Enforcement Discuss Security at Tortuga Music Festival in Fort Lauderdale

Thousands of people are expected to attend the Tortuga Music Festival on Fort Lauderdale Beach, the first time the festival is happening since the pandemic.

First responders have been preparing a safety plan for months.

The three-day festival is happening just days after eight people were killed and more injured at Astroworld in Houston.

Police in Fort Lauderdale said they’ll be using lessons learned from that tragedy to make sure nothing like that happens this weekend.

30,000 guests are expected to attend the festival. Police have set up surveillance cameras that will keep a close eye on the crowd. A medical tent with doctors and nurses from Broward Health will act as a small emergency room.

“Safety is always our number one concern. At any point, if we see something that doesn’t look right or not going right, we stop the venue. We’ve done it before in the past and we have no concern with doing that again,” said Stephen Gollan, Battalion Chief for the Fort Lauderdale Police Department.

Dr. Randy Atlas, a local security expert who has studied and consulted on safety and design for public venues and crowd control, said there were many design flaws in Houston and many mistakes were made.

“Crowd control is based on what the projected numbers are and there is an obligation and a duty and liability, if you don’t do it correctly and estimate correctly how many people will be there and how you disperse the crowd,” said Atlas.

Officials in Fort Lauderdale said they’ve inspected every stage, structure and vendor area to make sure it’s safe.

They’re also encouraging people to download the SaferWatch app that will allow anyone to report information happening at the event that will go straight to the safety command post.